published: 30 /
Format: CD X2
Superb double album from Norwegian legends Motorpsycho, who While flying in the face of more fashionable modes and styles continue to be an inventive and creative force
Thirty years on and the Norwegian collective Motorpsycho are still firing on all cylinders. This new double album completes a trilogy of works entitled 'The Gullvag Trilogy' inspired by painter Hakon Gullvag whose incredible artwork adorns the cover of the album.
'All is One' is an epic undertaking connecting with themes of conservation and injustice. While being completely modern the whole album echoes the glory days of early 1970’s progressive rock.
I’m going to jump straight in at the deep end with the album’s centrepiece 'N.O.X.'. which is a hugely ambitious work where the band use just about every weapon at their disposal. Inventive percussion provided by Thomas Jaymyr lays a strong foundation on to which Bent Saether adds melodic bass lines and excellent vocals. Add soaring synths and some stunning guitar work from Hans Magnus Ryan, and you have something really special.They are ably assisted by Reine Fisk, Lars Horntveth and Ola Kvernberg. A major reference point here would be 'Close to the Edge'-era Yes (which I offer as a compliment). Melodic, intricate without being fussy and rocking and rolling with intensity, with pastoral moments added in to the mix this is so good to listen to.
'N.O.X.' consists of five movements and runs to 42 minutes in total. Opening with 'Circles around the Sun Pt. 1', the listener enters a journey of sonic discovery. A pastoral cello led introduction welcomes a brooding orchestral passage with discordant vocals. ending with a screaming jazzy violin solo that brings in 'Ouroboros'. Wow! Solid drumming and a pulsating bass line bring a hypnotic tension to this superb composition that is developed by aggressive guitar soloing that snakes in and out of an electronic maelstrom, before the tempo drops like a receding storm as the track segues into the atmospheric and melodic 'Ascension'. 'Night of Pan' follows. Driven by a krautrock-inspired metronomic pulse and sinister tribal percussion. 'Pan' weaves a mysterious and unearthly pattern heightened by ghostly voices, before 'Circles around the Sun Pt. 2' brings this amazing song cycle to a close. An intense reprise of 'Pt. 1' is a fitting finale.
As a respite from the intensity of 'N.O.X.', the final four tracks offer a more relaxed atmosphere. 'A Little Light' is a folky finger-picked acoustic delight, while 'Dreams of Fancy' is a funky strut with a lovely pastoral energy and 'The Dowser' is a beautiful song with superb harmony vocals.
'Like Chrome' ends the double album in style, and is an easy-paced composition that is both hopeful and anthemic.
Back to the beginning of the album four tracks precede 'N.O.X.'
These four tracks work together beautifully making a superb precursor to the central core. 'The Magpie' brings to mind the work of Rare Bird (of Sympathy) fame while the fantastic 'Delusion' echoes classic Yes in the most complimentary of fashion.
In conclusion, 'The All Is One' is a full-length symphony bookended by EPs. While referencing the ghosts of the past (Yes, Barclay James Harvest, Camel, King Crimson etc), Motorpsycho have produced a major work, possibly a masterpiece that transcends the progressive genre in its breadth, scope and vision. 5 stars.
The All is One
The Same Old Rock (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)
Delusion (The Reign of Humbug)
N.O.X. I: Circles Around the Sun Pt.1
N.O.X. II: Ouroboros (Strange Loop )
N.O.X. III: Ascension
N.O.X. Iv: Night of Pan
N.O.X. V: Circles Around the Sun Pt.2
A Little Light
Dreams of Fancy
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